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NCJ Number: 77404 Find in a Library
Title: Identification of 'Career Criminals' from 'Chronic Offenders' in a Cohort
Journal: Law and Policy Quarterly  Volume:2  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1980)  Pages:321-334
Author(s): A Blumstein; S Moitra
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This prospective analysis of the arrest histories used in a 1972 cohort study shows that prior record has little predictive value regarding future criminality.
Abstract: The 1972 study indicated that 6.3 percent of their cohort had 52 percent of the recorded police contacts. This retrospective analysis was used to suggest that imprisoning these 'chronic' offenders would avert a correspondingly disproportionate amount of crime. Here, the length of the prior arrest record is used to identify the career criminal as a special target for incapacitation. An attempt was made to answer whether the 'chronic offenders' could be identified in prospect that is, during the period in which they accumulated their record. To this end, the 1972 data on the distribution of the number of arrests of individuals in a criminal career were analyzed. The findings showed that the recidivism probability was not discernibly different among persisters with different lengths of prior records. In particular, those with longer prior records had no higher a recidivism probability than those with shorter records. If this observation of the stable recidivism probabilities should be confirmed by other cohort studies, locking up the 'career criminal' would avert no more crimes than locking up any other persister. The model of recidivism, tables, figures, nine notes, and four references are included. Additional data are appended.
Index Term(s): Arrest records; Career criminal programs; Criminal histories; Habitual offenders; Professional criminals; Recidivism
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